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An eco-path to office efficiency
Friday, 20 November 2009 00:00

Focus has to be on the optimisation of output, IT devices, document management and software applications to ensure efficient and sustainable management of office documents

WITH the evolution of the workplace attributed to the advent of personal computers, workstations and software, the working models today have been greatly re-defined in favour of higher productivity.

Employees are in an environment of convenience where they can create, edit and re-use documents to be distributed freely over the office network.

There are 7.5 billion documents produced worldwide each year, according to an IDC survey and the white paper Documents -The Life Blood of Your Business. What is most interesting to note is that 82 per cent of organisations say that these documents are all critical to their businesses.

Since high document usage adds costs, the need for office efficiency becomes critical. To achieve this along an eco-path will mark the path of a sustainability-centred organisation.

There are several keys to the office efficiency eco-path.

Controlling paper usage

The first area is eliminating the printing of unnecessary documents. To do this, organisations have adopted the maxim of recycle and reduce, and the most common approach is to use double-sided prints.

Taking this approach a step further, there are various types of paper available that organisations can use to lower their environment impact: from acid-free paper, recycled paper to environmentally friendly paper. The next dimension in the paper production arena has already started and that is the use of a mix between virgin pulp and used paper, in a balanced manner. This form of Fuji Xerox paper is procured from sustainable resources including plantation forests and will bring to organisations an even friendlier paper procurement option

Reducing power wastage through the right components

There have also been advancements in the composition of output equipment components.

Today's technology does not just encompass low-power consumption, multi-function devices (MFDs) but a host of other environmentally friendly technology. For instance, instead of conventional laser beam technology for image scanning, light emitting diodes (LED) are used. Plastic materials have biomass attributes and shafts are lead-free; all of which are earth-friendly materials that work together to ensure that MFDs do not just use environmentally friendly paper, but are also made of materials that are earth friendly too. Anything else?

The equipment parts are also carefully managed after they have reached the end of their life cycles. There are integrated chemical handling systems at all Fuji Xerox production sites so that potential environment pollution is avoided.

Device management

Another area of office eco-management is the optimisation of output devices. Most organisations have a higher device-to-employee ratio compared to the ideal of one device for every 25 employees. This results in equipment being under-utilised, leading to excessive equipment costs, inefficient use of space and consumables.

It is possible to do an audit of the correct equipment-to-staff ratio for the most productive office use, or alternatively to outsource document-related operations. We are seeing an increasing number of companies who outsource the functions of document processes, including creation, storage, output and use of documents.

Seamless connections for the paperless workflow

Once all these areas are in place, there is also the consideration of the right software to connect an organisation's devices.

The right enterprise document management solutions connect an organisation's devices, even if they are in various locations, into a single network. Users can store and retrieve documents, and collaborate with their teammates no matter where they are.

Furthermore, such software systems enhance information sharing and create more efficient workflow as documents can also be printed on demand only when needed, leading to reduced paper usage and minimal wastage of unwanted documents. This results in valuable cost savings for the organisation. With such systems, there are also less chances of information leaks as user accessibility to documents can be managed.

The Fuji Xerox APEOS technology (based on XML and SOAP platforms) does this, enabling paperless workflows, traceability systems for security and remote support. Through direct online sessions, customers can remotely monitor issues that surface. This also means less downtime, and peace of mind.

Service through

Green Champions The approach of appointing Green Champions has started in many firms to varying degrees of success.

It has been possible to achieve 23.5 per cent reduction in consolidated electricity usage since 2003 since the Green Champions were appointed for our organisation. So far, over one million sheets of paper have been reduced and the company has also seen a 275-tonne cut in carbon dioxide emission from using environmentally friendly vans.

Fuji Xerox's on-site support consists of over 100 mobile customer service engineers and strategically located service depots all around the island. This team can provide on-site support or replace faulty device parts within one hour. This not only helps organisations minimise down time, but also ensures that help is administered in the fastest, most environmentally friendly way possible.

The processes for the efficiency eco-path is still in its infancy, and it means that the focus has to be shifted to the optimisation of output, IT devices, document management and the right software applications. Only then can organisations boast efficient and sustainable management of office documents.

 

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